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- SARSEF Launches a Platform for Arizona Schools to Host Science Fairs Online for Free
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- Arizona STEM Adventure Gives Students Opportunity for Hands-On Science
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Benefits for Schools
What Are The Benefits of Participating?
Excellent PR for Your School
Schools that participate with 10 research projects or more at the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) are featured in a full-page ad in the Arizona Daily Star each year. This year it will appear on March 4, 2016. This brings pride and recognition to your school.
Parents in other schools often see this ad and begin asking why their school does not participate. Your school or district can be proud that they have someone like you who cares enough to take the additional time to help students participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM.)
Meet the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core
With so many expectations and curriculum standards to teach, it seems impossible to meet all curriculum requirements. Helping your students to complete a science research project fulfills many of them all at once! Not only does it meet the process and skills required — it also goes beyond by helping students become both problem solvers and critical thinkers. The integration and application of skills from every area of the curriculum brings students to the higher orders of learning. Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) skills are applied to many of the required concepts and core disciplines. See the following chart to learn how NGSS skills align with science research projects!
Great Learning Experiences and Opportunities
What are the benefits of engaging in active research projects? Of course, the biggest and best reason to do a research project is so that students learn to care about what they are testing. Since they are going to choose something that already means a lot to them, or that they are already interested in, they will enjoy learning more about it.
But in case you need some more convincing: Just last year, we gave 725 prizes and awards to student from across Southern Arizona, ranging from $25 to $500 in cash. We also awarded 11 all-expense-paid trips, and 14 college scholarships!
However, with your busy schedule, you may wonder if you can fit in even one more major activity for you or your students. Surprising to some, a science fair project is one of the best learning experiences a student can undertake, and a teacher’s most fulfilling activity. Yes, it is hard work and requires extra effort — but those who participate all say it is well worth the effort. And, if it is taken seriously, it can be an excellent way for your students to earn significant prizes, qualify for scholarships and distinguish a college application.
Savvy students, especially those who start young, can work their way up to higher levels of competition, and learn even more about communications skills. They learn the importance of selecting topics and fine-tuning their presentations in ways that will make them most likely to impress science fair judges.
And middle school students who successfully competed at SARSEF went on to enter and win other contests such as the American Museum of Natural History’s “Young Naturalist Competition” and Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars) … which resulted in free trips to New York City and Washington, D.C.!
Colleges want to see what students have done with the opportunities available to them — and science competitions are a fantastic opportunity. Many of the students who have won at SARSEF went on to paid positions at the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Biology Research Program. And, typically, 2 to 4 percent of science fair entrants at the high school level move on to the top level of science fair competition: the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which will attract colleges from all over the globe.
Most students do their projects for a school science fair — but in many cases, students can enter that same project in fairs at other levels. This is the first step in competitions that lead to the international level, where prizes total more than $3 million, and the top winners take home $75,000 scholarships.
From SARSEF, six high school projects move on each year as finalists — and three middle school projects are selected as observers — to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is held in a different city each year. Two projects are selected to attend the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment (I-SWEEEP) “Project Olympiad” in Houston. Students from around the globe attend these week-long events, and the results have been amazing. SARSEF students who attended ISEF have won at four times the national average for the past 14 years! Students who attend these events can win bigger prizes and trips. One student, Liz Baker, won more than $263,000 in prizes and scholarships. Colleges LOVE students who already know how to conduct research.
If you start now, you can make sure that your students have the opportunity of a lifetime.